CLEARFIELD – A Brooklyn, NY man has been accused of a large-scale organized retail theft that occurred at the Clearfield Wal-Mart Supercenter in September, according to court documents.
Jamel Wilson, 37, of Brooklyn, NY has been charged by Lawrence Township police with organized retail theft, retail theft/taking merchandise, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief/tampering with property.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Officer Elliott Neeper, police received a call from Wal-Mart Loss Prevention regarding an alleged retail theft. It had allegedly occurred at approximately 3 a.m. Sept. 9 at the Clearfield Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Loss Prevention personnel told police a Verizon phone case, located in electronics, had been broken into overnight. They indicated surveillance video showed three African-American males in the electronics department at approximately 3:10 a.m.
While reviewing surveillance video, Loss Prevention personnel observed one of the males allegedly using a screwdriver, which was obtained from the hardware department, to pry open the glass case displaying the cell phones.
They also observed another male allegedly arrive with a shopping cart with a tote inside to collect merchandise. A third male allegedly acted as a “look-out” for Wal-Mart associates.
Loss Prevention personnel told police that the second African-American male allegedly assisted the first in forcing the security door open and removing cell phones.
Loss Prevention personnel told police the males allegedly loaded the cell phones into a storage tote from the store. They allegedly secured the lid in order to conceal the merchandise contained within it.
Upon further investigation, police determined that the African-American males entered the store at approximately 2:53 a.m. Two males allegedly picked up a 35-gallon tote and proceeded to the shampoo aisle, where they cleared a shelf of all Rogaine products.
The two males then allegedly cleared a shelf of Crest white strips. They also allegedly removed other products, including Align Probiotic, Anti-Acid medication (Nexium, Prilosec and Flonase), Diabetic strips, Claritin and other medications. They allegedly placed all of the merchandise into storage totes.
The two males allegedly met the third male in the children’s department, where they removed Leap Pad toys and games as well as other toys. They allegedly placed this merchandise inside an additional tote.
The males proceeded to the Verizon cell phone display case in electronics. They allegedly pried open the case and loaded cell phones and tablets into the totes. The males then allegedly exited the store beyond the point of sale at 3:17 a.m. and entered a silver Sedan that was waiting in the parking lot.
At the store, police observed the Verizon cell phone case, which was allegedly broken into. It had been taped off by Wal-Mart staff in order to keep the public out. Police could allegedly observe fingerprints and smudges left on the security door that had been forced open.
Police requested the assistance of Sgt. Greg Neeper of the Clearfield Borough police with the fingerprinting and removal of the damaged glass from the display case. Upon arrival he photographed the location of the display case and located multiple fingerprints. He also located fingerprints inside of the glass, which is not regularly touched by Wal-Mart staff.
Police collected the two security doors from the display case to enter as evidence. Also, police collected the photographs taken at the scene by Clearfield Borough police. Police sent partial prints to the Erie Crime Lab for an attempted identification.
Police contacted the Pennsylvania State Police PACIC Division for assistance in locating similar incidents. PACIC advised additional Wal-Mart stores were hit, including one in Clinton County and another in North Lebanon County.
On Nov. 4 police received a preliminary laboratory report from the Erie Crime Lab. It indicated that the fingerprints submitted had been identified as that of a 39-year-old male and a second male, Wilson.